Sunday, November 29, 2015

Beautiful breakfast.

I just had breakfast, listening to a bird choir, right outside my window.  There were, when I counted, a tree pie, two racket-tailed drongos, 4 common mynas and a host of jungle babblers, talking and quarrelling, with a little squirrel (chipmunk) who had the cheek to come to where they were rooting around in the ground.  Also, as part of the choir, though not visible, were the' kutroo, kutroo' calls of brown-headed barbets.  Whatever I ate tasted like ambrosia, with such beautiful background music.
Truly a beautiful breakfast.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

US summer

When we got to Chicagoland, it was hot and it had not rained for quite a while.  I realised how hard the mud there can get when it is dry.  I love the wood chips they put around the base of trees and around beds to help keep weeds away and keep the ground damp and I thought, if it was here, any wood chips that had been scattered around would have been dust by evening--eaten up by the aggressive termites we have here.
My son had planted some of his usual veggies, but he couldn't do as much work on it as he liked because of a bad back.  But anyway, we got to eat a few of his veggies--a large big purple eggplant, some yellow cherry tomatoes, an orange pepper, cucumber and green chillies.  He has a blackberry bush and so my grandkids and I picked blackberries too.
I got to see a skunk in the neighbourhood--at dusk, my usual walk time--hares/rabbits a-plenty, with tiny babies too and I even got to see a possum.  I saw my first chipmunk, which is exactly what our regular squirrels here are like.  The North American squirrel type we have only in our forests.
I spied a cardinal, who came two days in a row, to sit on some wires going over the back garden.  I saw what I was pretty sure was a bird of prey, but I could not identify it. In the lake, in the park near the house, there was a huge group of ducks and I also got to see a heron and of course plenty of gulls, swooping low to catch fish.
All in all it was beautiful.  But with no SLR camera, and only my iphone 4, I did not get any good pictures.  I saw recently that one can get an SLR lens to fit over a phone lens at a much cheaper price.  May be I should try to get one of those.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I was outside in the afternoon, hanging up clothes and I heard a sound of an animal trying to be quiet.  I looked up and saw, on a coconut palm near me, a monitor lizard creeping slowly and apparently clumsily, up.  But quiet though it was, my dog heard the sound and came running, barking away.  The next minute the lizard had gone up the tree so fast, it was unbelievable!  I never knew, 1) that monitor lizards climbed trees and 2) that they could move so fast.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


I love the wonders of nature and the joy and serenity they bring.  Watching a large butterfly flutter by, my favourite birds, the magpie robins, chirping to each other.  Walking in the night with fireflies everywhere and a waxing moon, almost full.  A beautiful full moon,.the wonder of watching Venus and Jupiter almost aligned and then one passing the other by.  Watching a monitor lizard sunning itself on a log, a mongoose jumping over a wall, a huge fruit bat settle on a wild jack tree;  listening to a frog chorus, backed by a cricket orchestra--all these make me mellow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Monsoon clouds

I had posted on my Life on a Hill blog, that the monsoons seemed rather unenthusiastic this year.  But after that I got some proper monsoony shots.  Here is one of them--monsoon clouds behind teak trees in bloom.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A picture

This is a wild creeper growing on a tree.  It was much more common I feel, when I used to visit Kerala as a child.  But it has been seen around here after a long while.  Isn't it pretty?  The white you see is not a flower but the bracts just near the flower.  Long ago my mother told me this is called
Amma karathathu, makal vellithathu, makaldey makal sundari kotha in Malayalam, which means ' the mother is dark, the daughter is fair and the daughter's daughter is a beauty!  The mother is the dark green leaf, the daughter the white bract and the little orange flower (which can't be seen from afar) is the daughter's daughter!  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It is 9.30 am.  I was sitting out on my verandah when I saw a pale coloured bird fly into the divi-divi tree near me and two crows coming after it.  Minutes later a tree pie flew there too.    When I looked carefully, I realised the pale bird was a female Indian cuckoo--the koel.  So naturally the crows were chasing it.  But I couldn't quite see what the tree pie had to do there.  Soon the tree pie flew off screaming.  A little later the koel flew off and the crows sat there very triumphantly.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Strange sight

Today, I was in a car, near Cochin/Kochi, passing over a bridge, when I saw the strangest sight; in the air I could see a big bird--looked like a hawk, but may have been only a crow, and a much smaller bird flying very close to each other.  At first I thought the bigger bird was intent on catching the smaller bird.  But then, as I watched, it looked almost as though the smaller bird was trying to take a ride on the bigger bird's back or else just plain harassing that bigger bird, or chasing it.  Now there is a small black bird, with a swallow like tail, which attacks crow.  But I couldn't see any evidence of a tail like that.  Wish I could have watched longer to know what was going on..........